Tuesday, January 9, 2018

St. Luke Community Healthcare Oncology Infusion Center


Dave and Susan Vaneek, St. Luke nurse.
Dave walked into the sparkling new the St. Luke Community Healthcare (SLCH) Oncology Infusion Center on Oct. 24 as its first cancer patient. Stunning views of the Mission Mountains fill the large northeast facing windows. Oncologist Dr. Michael Goodman, Glacier Oncology in Kalispell, travels to Ronan on Tuesdays. Currently Dr. Goodman is seeing about four patients per week. The space will accommodate six patients at one time, but the number of patients served relies on Dr. Goodman and his preferred patient load.

“We are pleased with the response to the Oncology Infusion Center,” says Sarah Teaff, St. Luke’s Chief Operating Officer, “Demand is growing, and we are considering additional operating hours in anticipation of growing demand.”

Front Desk.
The oncology center was built in response to the high prevalence of cancer in Lake County, the need to reduce the travel burden for community members, and was in response to the 2013 and 2016 Community Health Needs Assessments, which surveyed residents from seven communities in the Mission Valley. Cancer services ranked second for desired local healthcare services in the survey. A copy of St. Luke’s Community Health Needs Assessments can be found on the hospital’s website.

“Our goal was not a monetary one,” Sarah says, “we wanted to provide an important service which was lacking. Patients undergoing
Treatment Room.
chemotherapy treatment often times have to travel to Kalispell or Missoula, which requires a day off work for the patient and caregiver as well as travel costs; not to mention the discomfort of a drive home after chemotherapy. Our hope was to reduce this burden for people in our community.”

Cheerful Heart now provides SLCH infusion center with volunteer services that have been provided to St. Joseph Community Medical Center’s Oncology Clinic since 2002. Cheerful Heart’s services, in addition to the soup and snack service at the infusion center on Tuesdays, includes transportation, running errands, walking the dog, meal preparation, etc. All Cheerful Heart services are provided without charge to Lake County cancer patients currently in treatment. Cheerful Touch is another available service to patients and includes massage, hair, skin and nail care. To reach Cheerful Heart call 883-3070. The latest cancer information can be found on the Cheerful Heart web site www.cheerfulheart.org.

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